Contemporary African Art Collection by Jean Pigozzi

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Gedewon

Born 1939, Bagemdir, Ethiopia
Died 1995, Därtähal, Ethiopia

Far from being an artist seeking his roots, Gedewon was one of the finest practitioners of poetry and rhetoric in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Along with his religious studies, he was secretly initiated into talismanic art, a discipline used for prayer and healing. Reaching back as far as the origins of Christianity in Ethiopia (i.e., to the fourth century), talismanic art draws on the same Hellenic sources as Arab alchemy and the Hebrew Kabala. But while the art remained embryonic in the Mediterranean world, it flourished in Ethiopia as a means to cure patients whose ills were understood in terms of spiritual possession. For Gedewon, talismans were a writing from before writing; they were at once equally figure and text.

Gedewon called his works “talismans of research and study.” The purpose of his art was to heal body and soul through ancient patterns, imagery, and invocation. While employing established models, Gedewon also considered it necessary to question the patient in order to incorporate specific experiences and visions into the talisman. In turn, he would create new images for new problems. His works, executed in pencil, ballpoint pen, or ink on paper, are primarily graphic and within their geometric framework, highly representational. In these “talismans of research and study,” Gedewon is both the healer—and because of his empathy—the patient, artist and hallucinator in another’s stead.

With contributions from Jacques Mercier

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2012/2013
Sept 1 2012 - Sept 30 2013
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gallery 351- Ethiopia

2011
VENICE BIENNALE: 54th International Art Exhibition, Italian Pavillion

2009 - 2010
Nov. 2009 - Jan. 2010
Africa? Una nuova storia
Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy

2005
Arts of Africa
Grimaldi Forum
Monaco - France

2005
African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston
Houston - USA

2003 – 2004
Vernacular Visionaries: International Outsider Art in Context
Museum of International Folk Art
Santa Fe, New Mexico – USA

2002
Art that Heals
Apex Art
New York Etats Unis.

2001
Dessins Choisis
Forum Culturel de Blanc-Mesnil
Le Blanc-Mesnil, France

2001
Working in the Spirit : Gedewon and Vyakul
Cavin-Morris Gallery.
New York, Etats Unis.

2000 – 2001
Dessins Choisis
Alliance éthio-française
Addis Adeba, Ethiopie

2000
Partage d’Exotismes
La Halle Tony Garnier
Lyon, France.

1998
Africa, Africa -A vibrant Art from a Dynamic Continent
Tobu Museum of Art.
Tokyo, Japan.

1997
Schloss Halbturn.
Austria.

1997
Die Anderen Modernen
Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.
Berlin, Germany.

1997
Art that Heals
Museum for African Art.
New-york, USA.

1997
Lumière Noire
Tanlay Art Center.
Tanlay, France.

1996
Universalis
Sao Paulo 23rd Biennal.

1995
Krank : Warum ?
Deutschen Higiene Museum.
Dresden, Germany.

1992
Le Roi Salomon et les Maîtres du Regard
Oceanian and African Art National Museum
Paris, France.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2005
African Art Now: Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Exhibition catalogue. Published by Merrell.

2004
Vernacular Visionaries: International Outsider Art in Context.
Edited by Annie Carlano, published by Yale University Press.

1998
Africa-Africa, A Vibrant Art from a Dynamic Continent
Tobu Museum of Art. Gedewon p.54-59.
Bilingual text : Japanese and english.
Tokyo, Japan.

1997
Anderren
Zeitgenössische Kunst Aus Afrika Asien und Lateinamerika.
Edition : Braus. Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.
Gedewon p.68-69.

1996
Contemporary Art of Africa.
Gedewon by Jacques Mercier, p.58-59 text in English.
Edited by André Magnin & Jacques Soulillou.
Publisher Harry N. Abraams, New-York.

1996
Universalis
Sao Paulo 23rd Biennal.
Exhibition catalogue
Gedewon p.112-117 by Jacques Mercier.
Bilingual text : Portuguese, English.



Gedewon : Biography (eng/fr) Exhibitions

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Gedewon Biography

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